Re: grades

Dave Lewis (dkl@IWAYNET.NET)
Tue, 27 Aug 1996 00:14:54 -0400

>If we wanted to make grades 9-12 have a theme of "career" -- we could be
>teaching students to write and all sorts of other things while they would
>also be looking, for "real," at options for meaningful work. Field trips,
>service learning, etc. could easily add real spice -- a little loop here
>back to the previous discussion of "real" writing assignments.

Good point, Bob. I think you'll find that secondary schools across the
country are taking up this idea and requiring students to do internships or
provide service to the community as a learning opportunity as a requirement
for graduation. Unfortunately, they are not as quick to integrate these
experiences into the classroom, where they would help provide "authentic"
means of demonstrating proficiency in writing, social studies, math,
science, ....

>Rather than getting rid of the SAT, maybe there would be -- at the end of
>grades 9-12 -- several sorts of proficiency exams that would then certify
>students to enter different sorts of semi-professional schools, one of
>which would be semi-academic professional school, now known as "college."

Aaack! so, okay, like, I go to school for 11 1/2 years demonstrating my
abilities by performance; then near the end of the 12th year, I take this 1
or 2 day multiple choice test that determines the direction of the rest of
my life? Tell me I'm mis-reading your thinking here! (I *am* troubled =8-)

>Like I said, this is going for maximum troubling, but maybe profiency
>exams do make sense, and maybe grading does make sense, when a person is
>doing some "for real" preparation for labor. I take comfort in knowing
>that my physician or electrician has had to demonstrate her or his ability
>in advance of plying their trades. What makes little sense is imagining
>that the only proficiency worth preparing or testing for is academic
>proficiency, and silly for a society to dump so much of it's resources
>into creating a single-modality institution such as "college," rather than
>creating institutes that are much more varied in nature and better able to
>serve the individual needs of students.

It depends a great deal to me as to how you demonstrate 'proficiency.' If
one demonstrates proficiency by *showing* an audience what one knows in the
way one does best -- okay. If, OTOH, someone pays a *lot* of money to have
a machine-gradeable test constructed to measure what the test-preparer
*thinks* they should be measuring or trying to measure then you end up with
-- the Ohio Proficiency Tests. Geesh, what travesties they are! And lots of
kids (okay, not the college-bound ones, in general) don't get a high school
diploma because they can't take multiple-guess tests well enough.


>Bob King


Dave Lewis | Don't be afraid to take a big step.
Educational Technology Specialist | You can't cross a chasm in two small | jumps. -David Lloyd George